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Monthly Archives: September 2018

Reflections 2018 w39

The results are in for the Writing Kiln Potteries Prize; and I did not make it to the shortlist. But it is still a win for me, at least over my inner critic, because I entered a public competition.

With my second attempt at a short story now under my belt I have moved past the self doubt stage, the voice that says it’s not good enough; it was, it still is, and it will be published here on Wednesday.

What will the next one be about?

Who knows.

At the moment one has a poem that will just not gel together, what I want to say and what fits the timing are not co-operating yet. Normally I move onto another one as it sorts itself out, but this one is like Spot vying for attention when I watch a film at treat time. No matter where I move my head, hers moves in front of my eyes, blocking the view. So I am walking away from it for a week or two, to create that space.

Art too is currently on the back burner, Puppet building has taken centre stage. Plans have been downloaded, printed and pasted onto card, from . Two puppet plans are free, and he shows how to build them on Youtube. I recon one could build one so one is going to.

I go and find the materials later this week.

So thats it for the moment, it feels like a car journey that’s half way done, not there yet but far enough away that a cuppa is needed.

Reflections 2018 w38

Well it’s that time of the year again, when I have to admit defeat and replace the crochet blanket and sheet with the sheet and 4tog duvet, yes, the nights are getting colder. It’s also the time I look to see if I can get away to Shell Island in Wales for their final week of camping at the end of October.

Spot and I do not go for the fireworks, although she can be in the mood to watch them from a great distance, but rather the near empty campsite/”island” we share with maybe five other tents, that is until the Thursday, when it starts filling up for the firework night.

The weather we are used to here is usually windy with a high chance of 55mph gusts, so it is a great place to either ruin your tent or prove it. Trust me, once you get back to a tent that is flat to the ground, and you want to keep the tent more than one year, you get a tent that can withstand the winds. Also you start to look for the higher part of the more none-field camping areas, after you have woken up to a moat around your tent, if your unlucky, inside at least part of it.

I now hang my rubbish bag at night, not because of bears like our American cousins, but rather because of local, Welsh, wildlife.

Have in mind this was a two man dome tent standing at a whopping 105cm (41inch) at the very top whilst you read the next part.

I will never forget my first encounter with the rubbish thief, one was disturbed by the rustling of the bag and posed my head out of the top opening of the inner tent doorway, torch in hand, fully expecting to see a rat or a mouse. But instead I locked eyes, with the almost as surprised as me, badger. It lasted for what felt like a minute, until he/she grabbed the bag and made a run for it, the badger came around again the next night and tried to get the dog biscuits, the food was kept in the car after that and I now keep all food in an airtight container.

But my encounter did not end there…

Knowing that it liked the dog food, I waited the next couple of nights, using the red light on my head torch. And when the badger came again I quietly left the tent, the dogs in the tent with my ex, food in hand. Neither of us seemed to know we were supposed to fear each other, and we spent a good half an hour together, enjoying each others company. Me feeding the badger at nearly four foot away, and the badger eating the dog biscuits. The badger left when it had eaten enough and I did not see it again…

That holiday..



Reflections 2018 w37

Anxiety is all in the mind they say, but if you put your mind under too much pressure you get one hell of a headache.

Every so often one goes out of my comfort zone, this is usually connected with a day out with the children, even if one was looking forward to the days activity. I like watching fish, it relaxes me, so when we had the chance to go to Blue Planet near Cheshire Oaks I was looking forward to the tank tunnel as much as the children.

We went to Cheshire Oaks for dinner first, we would not have if we had known about the  building work, my sister has been several times but not being able to see the shops threw out her reference points, and made it feel crowded. I could not believe how noisy it was, even the road with a sparse amount of cars seemed deafening. My coping method was just working, the din fighting for my attention over the headphones. I could not leave the food place soon enough.

That was the start of the headache, it continued to grow in intensity when we timed our arrival just behind a birthday party at The Blue Planet. The dusk like conditions and warmth of the centre had me wanting to go to a corner and sleep, my natural response to   getting rid of a headache, but the volume of the party would have denied me it anyway.

I think it would be a good place to go on a school day, for me at least, as the feeling of trying to stay in front of the party would hopefully not be with the visit at that time. I could watch the stingrays for hours, there is something about the way they swim that is just mesmerising.

The kids seemed to have a good day, and I don’t know about the other two but my lad fell asleep shortly after setting off back to home. I was that knackered I even fell asleep at a reasonable time without my sleeping tablets, a rare event in itself, however I did get woken up by the now splitting headache at around 03:00hrs but was back to sleep after taking more pain killers. Even now as I write this the headache lingers on and probably will do for at least another day if I avoid everything else stressful.

It’s not just the headache, but how the body feels tight, wound up like a spring that does not get the release of pressure that causes the pain. No it’s not pleasant going outside of your anxiety comfort zone.


Reflections 2018 w36

There are certain programs from ones childhood that remain in ones memory, even if the memory of the program has long since gone. For me, one of these is a program called Blakes 7, a British tv show from 1978. It appears the entire show is on youtube.

The title music is how I remember the cast has the all too familiar faces, although one could not have described anyone of them before re-watching the series. Nothing is coming as a ‘surprise’.

The dodgy green screen, ‘classic’ sci-fi music and amateur dramatic acting that was so the rage of the 70’s was to be expected, and although it looks really dated I have not judged it on such cosmetic things.

I am now 4 episodes into series one and for the life of me cannot see what the appeal was for me as a wee nipper. The script comes across more political and of a humanitarian agenda than Star Trek was and the action is, as of yet, less than what I remember Tom Bakers Dr Who was, also running at the same time. But I remember I was an avid watcher of this.

To be honest it may have just been because there was only three channels on the tv at the time, HOW did we manage??? Or it may have been because it was in colour. A lot of the sci-fi films one watched as a child were black and white, you still cannot beat the original war of the worlds though, so I am not sure this would have been the reason. Safire and Steel, also British tv, was in colour but the stories were more along the lines of Dr Who crossed with the Twilight Zone, one story of trapping a creature, which may not have had a face, in a circle of mirrors, because thats how it moved about from person to person – creeped me right out. (This is all from memory and may not have been the story written for the program but rather what my child brain interpreted the story to be)

But there is none of that in this…I’m at a loss. I do not see the appeal now.

Sometimes the memory of something is always better than the thing in the memory being recalled.


Side note…

Why do people place adverts for items to be sold on sites like gumtree, only to leave the advert running weeks after it’s been sold? It costs me money to text them and costs them to text me back, muppets!

I have just checked – the add is still running, 3 days after my contact with them. Why???


reflections 2018 w35

It’s been a funny old month. The temperature has been up, with a cold dip , before going up once more. The veggies’ don’t know what to do.

The plants are so out of whack that we have been picking blackberries a month early. I have cut it down a touch in the last couple of weeks, including the old fruit ‘heads’, not sure what it is called, Not really a ‘haircut’, more of a trim.

This was done a couple of days after the drop to single digits and was thought to have been the season done for this year, apart from the odd stragglers. But no, the bush has blossomed again and gotten some new berries growing. Right in line with the normal picking season.

My courgettes have also gotten confused, the cold snap discolouring the leaves as the plant looked to be dying off. This week the plant is throwing off new courgettes and new growth.

I harvested my butternut squash because of the frost threat, which we did not have, and now this has 8 more squash growing.

As this is my dads plot, I get one in October, I have not taken much notice nor notes. The seeds were old for the most part, and veg was grown specifically to get excess for the food bank. When I get my own plot more notes will be taken and all seeds will be from fresh stock.

I will even be weighing the veg harvests to go with the crop, as well as what was done to the soil etc. Even temperature ratings will be recorded.

Yes it may seem anal, but I don’t want to be growing a crop just for stock at the expense of flavour, and recording all I can, is to me, the best way to replicate the same results year after year.

It’s just going to be a lot of work to get the plot how I want it. Unfortunately all the signs are looking like a bad winter; I don’t fancy frozen bits as I do it.